Chiropractor slammed for treating baby's back

A Melbourne paediatrician, with more than 30 years experience in the field, has questioned the treatment of a four-day-old baby suffering from colic and reflux by an Australian chiropractor.

The six-minute video, which sees Dr Ian Rossborough perform a chiropractic procedure on the distressed newborn, has received almost one million views on Youtube.

But paediatrician Dr Chris Pappas, said he was concerned by the footage particularly because "no scientifically proven benefits of chiropractic manipulation for young babies and children" exist.

"There are documented complications and injuries that have occurred because of spinal manipulation," Dr Pappas told news.com.au.

"What is concerning here is that the conditions which are being treated [colic and reflux] are harmless and self-limiting."

Since releasing the footage, Dr Rossborough has called for calm, by demonstrating the procedure on his own daughter, Isla.

Placing his daughter on her tummy, Dr Rossborough assured viewers that no "cracking" is involved.

"We don't crack anything, it's not a crack, it's a very specific, it's the end of my fingers ... and it's about that much pressure," he said while holding his week-old daughter.

"The reason why we adjust the baby is because the parents bring them to us. They've usually already been to the medical doctors, they've usually already been to hospital, they've usually already been to a number of different places and they come to us in desperation,' he adds.

"What we do is we check the spine. We check the spine like you would check the hearing and check the vision and check anything else when the baby is born to make sure its functioning well."

Dr Rossborough, who says on his website that he "has been a health care professional for over 30 years," posts many videos of his patients on his Youtube channel, but it's the four-day-old patient video that has caused the greatest stir.

But Dr Pappas, who has seen complications from chiropractic treatments in the past, said while the incidence of injury might be small, they definitely exist.

"With an increasing number of infants and children receiving more and more chiropractic care, we may see a greater number of complications occurring," he said.

"The problem is that babies bones are soft and their joints are very flexible. Not only can these tissues be damaged, but other structures, such as the spinal cord are at risk.

"For these reasons, I feel chiropractic care for infants and children should not be undertaken."

The video doesn't do the chiropractic industry "any favours", says the deputy president of the Chiropractor's Association of Australia, Andrew Lawrence.

Dr Lawrence says while the practice of cracking a newborn's back isn't commonplace, it's not "completely out of the question".

"It's certainly not recommended as a first result," he told news.com.au. "Most of these tensions within the baby can be released by gentle stretching. I can understand why people are a bit taken aback by it, but it has been used in the past and in some circumstances it can work.

"It could be that this technique was the most appropriate to use in the situation, but there are plenty of other techniques that you could use first.

Dr. John Cunningham, an orthopedic surgeon in Melbourne, told ABC News he was shocked to see the video.

"There would be risks that the child could suffer some sort of fracture. Why on earth would you do that to a newborn?" he said.

Dr Cunningham, who made a formal complaint to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), after revealing the footage made his "eyes water".

"There's not many things that make an orthopedic surgeon emotional, but when you see a premature baby having its back cracked, it literally makes my eyes water," he said.

The parents of the child have also come under fire online, with experts insisting babies typically grow out of the condition by the time they're three months old.

Dr Pappas advises parents to look at the risks involved before allowing their children to undergo any such treatment.

"Parents should ask anybody from who they are getting treatment for their children, what possible side effects may occur," Dr Pappas said.

"Conditions, like colic or reflux, will get better over time. Parents need to balance that with possible risks and complications that might occur from manipulative care."
News.com.au has contacted Dr Ian Rossborough for comment.

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 04 Dec 2016 09:53:19 Processing Time: 1205ms